It’s time for a commitment – let’s talk about mental health and help eliminate the stigma!

Mar 29, 2016


Everywhere we turn, people are talking about mental health. It is an important issue and it’s good to see mental health and wellness being talked about more and more. The Canadian Mental Health Association tells us that:

As a profession, lawyers have a higher than average rate of mental health issues. A large portion of us suffer in silence, worried about the stigma if we ask for help, or just take the time we need to get better.

Mental health remains something that for many of us is an uncomfortable topic of discussion – we convince ourselves that stress is normal, that we can handle it. We avoid and procrastinate when it comes to taking care of ourselves, preferring to tend to others’ needs.   STOP and take the time to ask yourself how is your mental health today? This week? This month? This year?

The Governing Council representatives, your AJC elected officials, have had mental health on the agenda for some time, and kick-started the conversation at its recent annual face-to-face meeting last October.   The AJC has an important role to play to help end the stigma surrounding mental health issues and will be encouraging discussions among the general membership to this end and to promote mental wellness practices.

To increase our understanding of issues surrounding mental health at work, the AJC will be asking members to complete the Guarding Minds @ Work Survey. Guarding Minds @ Work is a unique, evidence-based, comprehensive set of resources designed to effectively assess and address psychological health and safety in the workplace. A psychologically healthy and safe workplace is one that promotes employees’ psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to employee psychological health caused by negligent, reckless or intentional acts. The focus is not on an individual employee’s health status but rather on organizational factors. If you are interested in obtaining more information about GM@W, please go to www.guardingmindsatwork.ca.

Your local GC representatives will be in touch with you in the coming months to set up discussion groups. We have also partnered with Notmyselftoday.ca who has provided us with helpful tools to engage in a healthy and productive discussions with our members in the workplace.

Let’s talk about mental health and ways to help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. It starts here: Pledge to attend one AJC’s discussion groups with your local GC representative.    Sessions are expected to commence as early as late May, through to the end of the year.

Your President,

Len MacKay